Monday, September 26, 2011

Meal Plan! Beginning...{Plan It - Don't Panic}

I am excited to begin a little meal planning challenge with one of my most favorite websites "Keeper of the Home".  It's called "Plan It - Don't Panic" and it's for 6 weeks.  I will be sharing my meal plan for the week every Monday.  All of my plans *should* be GAPS friendly (I say should just in case I make a mistake on allowable foods) and therefore mostly Paleo/Primal friendly as well.

We are doing full GAPS right now, but there is still a lot we don't do.  We are focusing on trying to still have many soups (that we love, of course!) to get that healing broth in us.  
(spaghetti soup)

I am excited about this because I need some accountability and motivation to do the work it takes to plan out our meals.  I know that this will help our family, our budget, and our desire to stick to eating what we know is nourishing, healing, and life-promoting.  I plan our meals as I look at what each day of the week holds, knowing that some days need meals that are ready way before dinner, or meals that are in 1 pot for easy clean up and quick eating, or leftovers so that we can enjoy rest from the intense work that is often required in the kitchen.

So here goes!  I will be sharing some recipes throughout the week from the meal plan (assuming they are hubby and kid-approved!).

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Squash Fries
Lunch:  banana, yogurt, and coconut oil smoothies, leftover chicken and zucchini noodle soup
Breakfast: Egg ‘Nest’ Muffins with Sausage (freeze leftovers for Thursday)
Lunch: leftovers or canned salmon with lime juice, garlic powder, salt, and butter sauce
Dinner: Shredded Beef (frozen) or chicken, fajita style, with sauteed onions, riced cauliflower, with steamed cabbage leaves for wraps, simple green beans in chicken broth ‘soup’

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs and Chicken broth boiled veggies
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Italian seasoned veggies (Italian seasoning, parsley, lemon) with chicken, tomato soup (chicken broth, tomato puree base), and steamed broccoli

Breakfast: leftover egg nest muffins!
Lunch: Leftovers!
Dinner: Hamburger Soup and Salad (simple lettuce and cucumbers and olive oil ACV dressing)

Breakfast: Scrambled Eggs with SK and boiled veggies
Lunch: one of the soups made for the weekend (Friday I am throwing together a couple big pots of soup for the weekend - Spaghetti Soup made with spaghetti squash and Chicken Cilantro Soup - with veggies and meats that I have prepped earlier in the week)
Dinner: Meatballs over spaghetti squash, salad

Breakfast: Breakfast Casserole
Lunch: one of the soups/leftovers
Dinner:  Baked Salmon with lemon butter cilantro sauce, vegetable soup, salad and steamed broccoli

Sunday (sabbath...I am trying to plan to keep this day as cooking-free as possible!)
Breakfast: leftover casserole
Lunch: already made soup
Dinner: Crockpot roasted chicken with veggie soup and squashbake (with more cinnamon and nutmeg) (or other soups if enough leftovers)

I also have another planning sheet where I have listed how I am dividing my prep work for veggies, meats, broths, and extras up during the week.  Maybe I can share that another day...if I am able to keep up with all of it :-).  Guess I should leave the computer and get to work...  ;-)  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today's Food Fun! And It really WAS fun!

 Chicken Enchiladas (well, just the chicken and sauce part...) and Cauliflower Rice...

Mmmm...this was so yummy!  I am battling the end of a sickness turned into attack on my left sinus cavity, so I think my taste buds were a bit lacking.  I thought both recipes were really good!  Hubby loved them and baby boy loved them and little mister loved the chicken enchilada part, but he was not happy about the cauliflower rice because of the onions in it.  Silly boy.  It was nice to have a creamy dish like this!

Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas (original recipe here.  I modified a little.)

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil or grass fed butter or ghee
2 cups tomato puree (can make your own using 4 large tomatoes pureed in a food processor)
1/2-1 cup chicken broth
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder **I used less than 2 tsp and it was spicy to me! :-)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
about 1 lb of chicken (can use other meat - ground beef, etc...I only used about 12 oz of cooked chicken)

1. Saute the onions in the coconut oil or butter until limp.
2. Add the tomato puree, broth, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt.  Mix well and let simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.
3. Pour the sauce into a food processor and process until smooth. (I used immersion blender)
4. Return to pan, add cooked chicken, cut into chunks or shredded, and heat through.
5. Serve with sliced avocados, lime wedges, and cilantro.  AND for extra yumminess and gut health, use homemade sour cream/yogurt cream/yogurt on top as well! 
Recipe: Cauliflower 'Rice'
Recipe here from Elana's Pantry

4 tablespoons butter, ghee, or coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 head cauliflower, trimmed and coarsely chopped (I put it through my food processor's grater)
¼ teaspoon celtic salt (I did it to taste, so I used more!) 
In a large skillet (I used my Le Creuset Casserole dish - large skillet/wok type dish with lid) melt fat and saute onion and celery until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add shredded/chopped cauliflower, stir, cover, and cook 5-10 minutes, until cauliflower is soft.  You could continue cooking with lid off to brown it some if desired.  Add salt to taste. 

We loved this!  I loved the flavor coconut oil gave to this - coconut oil and sauteed onions are just so yummy together.  You could always add spices/herbs to make it complement whatever meat dish you are having. 

Dessert time...Yep...dessert...

Here's my whisk about to get licked cleaned.
 This is what happens when you take...some shredded coconut, cinnamon powder...
 Grass fed Butter, Raw Honey, cinnamon, and vanilla...
 And you put it all together and get some truffles...mmmmm....
We loved these.  Totally satisfied my butter craving (yep, I have butter cravings).  We especially liked them rolled in cinnamon or cinnamon and coconut flakes.  Nice way to end the day! 

Recipe: Cinnamon Truffles
(no modifications to her recipe...)
**My notes: I suggest just using spoons to drop small portions of the mixture into the bowls of what you are rolling the truffle in.  Then just shake the bowl around really well to coat!  That way you don't have to fight butter all over your fingers.  Also, put in fridge to harden up after making them, or in the freezer if you want to eat them RIGHT NOW.  :-) Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Eggs in a Nest - Fun Breakfast!!

 I used to do eggs fried inside a holed piece of bread when we ate grains...

I had never thought to do something fun like this with veggies, though! 

I saw the idea here...and I already had some zucchini and yellow squash shredded in the fridge, so I just made it with that! 

Recipe: Eggs in a Nest
This was so fun (to myself and always encouraging hubby...the boys didn't really care that it looked fun).  It was also SO yummy.  I am looking forward to trying different veggie mixtures!  I didn't feel like dragging a cast iron lid out, so I just let them cook until well set and then clumsily flipped them over for just a minute to set the top and keep the yolks how we like them - soft/runny. 

2 cups shredded zucchini/yellow squash/butternut squash
Butter or Ghee or bacon grease or lard or something fun like that :-)
4 eggs
salt and pepper

Heat skillet (love my cast iron!) and saute squash with 1-2 tbsp of fat until soft and starting to brown (less time for summer squashes, more time for winter).  Once cooked, form into little 'nests' - rings of veggies.  I did mine with a hole in the middle about the size of an egg, but you really can do whatever, because even if the egg spills out, it's still fun and yummy!  I love to add a thin slice of butter or small dollop of ghee where the egg is going to go (to help with the egg sticking) and let it melt, and then quickly crack the egg into the hole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper Let cook until set, then flip over to set top (OR much easier - put lid over skillet to cook until egg is set!).  Serve!  SO yummy!

So I have to share a funny baby story.  I don't know why our little one is such an easy eater (easy in that he eats almost anything we give him...not easy in the area of keeping him full and satisfied!), but I am thankful for it!  Tonight at dinner we had one of our favorite meals, which is chicken cilantro soup with some of our homemade yogurt in it.  Usually he eats that up.  Tonight he was throwing fits about eating.  So what did I do?  I busted out some cooked ground liver from our fridge (that I will share more about soon!) and we offered it to him.  He tasted it and immediately signed for more.  He ate probably a grown-up spoonful and then progressed on to eating slices of butter...and drinking all the broth from the soup he still refused to eat.  He cracks me up. 

What would you choose?  ;-)  Ah, the liver...
Feeding himself (sorry about the pink spoon, little boy...)
Then it was butter and liver...
Funny baby...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Zucchini Fritters, Breakfast Sausage, and our favorite weed, and a cookie...

I was supposed to post about something else next, but the other thing takes a little more research and putting thoughts together, and I don't have that in my mental abilities tonight :-). 

But wow, this title makes it look like we ate a lot tonight.  Okay, maybe we did. 

Here goes...I am totally giving a boring post with no pictures because I didn't take any.  Ah well...

Recipe: Zucchini Fritters.  Sounds exciting, huh?  Well, seriously, take my word for it and promise me you will cook them in bacon grease.  And also, you should definitely wring the shredded zucchini out in cheesecloth or paper towels, or at least let it sit a while and drain out the excess water.  Our batter was very watery by the time I actually cooked them, but they still were super yummy, just a little hard to flip. 

**GAPS notes: I really think you could leave out the coconut flour, or use almond flour if you tolerate that better.  Also, I think using any animal fat would be the best thing to do, for both nutrition and flavor. 

Recipe: Breakfast Sausage.  I am so excited to find this!  We LOVED this - little boys did, too, and I am excited to use this again and maybe even experiment with it.  Grain-free foodies has another breakfast sausage recipe with different ingredients as well.  I am excited we can make this - it adds so many options to breakfast-type meals, and it doesn't have sugar! 

**GAPS notes: you could brown this in a little broth to make it easier to digest and earlier stage appropriate.  If you aren't up for eating super browned meat, just cook it gently so it doesn't sear. 

Purslane...It's funny that this weed is so easy to grow, is everywhere in abundance (or so *they* say), does well in drough, is very nutritious, and has a great flavor, raw or cooked, is NOT in our yard.  I'm pretty sure we have every weed besides it.  But we found this at the market this past weekend and were excited since we hadn't had it since last summer.  We think we'll try and grow some next year!  I just sauteed it in butter and some lemon juice and some garlic, and we cheated and ate some fresh goat cheese from the market.  It is good by itself and is great in salads, chopped/cut up so you get little bites of bright, citrusy flavor!  I am going to search for a salad to make with cucumbers, purslane, and yogurt! 

Cookie time...
Recipe: Cinnamon Nut Cookie.  We like these - definitely not like a sugar-laden refined wheat death trap you would get at a store, but it totally satisfied my sweet tooth (can I admit I've succumbed recently to my always existing battle with a starbucks mocha or iced caramel macchiatto?!  and i can totally tell because I haven't had any sugar since Thursday and I think my sweet cravings are having die-offs...).  And I love cinnamon.  I added some butter for fat...a couple tablespoons.  Don't overcook - if the edges or bottoms burn, it tastes bitter.  But this is a keeper for craving emergencies if you can handle nuts.  :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

More Easy and Good Recipes! Chicken, Pork, and Fries!

It seems that most of what I am doing lately is simply sharing a few recipes. I do plan on sharing so much more, especially about some of the following:

1) our path to getting to this point
2) what kinds of things God has taught us and shown us throughout this
3) specifics of diets (ways of eating) that we love
4) why we are doing this
5) things eating like this addresses and heals and benefits we've seen in ourselves

And I didn't have any pictures of the meals I am about to share recipes of, but I do have a picture of what my next post will be about...ah, the suspense...

But alas for now I just leave you with a few successful recipes that are good no matter how you eat!

This first recipe is from the Garden of Eating cookbook (same as the other stewed chicken with zucchini, mushrooms, and tomatoes recipe).  I loved it - it was very light tasting, and it was a great alternative to our normal roasted chicken and vegetables.  It is almost sweet, a little bright tasting, but still savory, especially because of the onions (mmmm roasted/stewed onions).

Recipe: Stewed (or roasted) chicken with ginger and carrots
1 medium onion, cut into thick crescents or 1 inch cubes
3 cups carrots, cut into wedges
3 cups small parsnips, peeled and cut into wedges
1 Tbsp peeled, minced fresh gingerroot
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp celtic or himalayan salt
2 Tbsp cooking fat (ghee, butter, lard, chicken fat from broth making)
4 lbs bone-in chicken parts OR 2 lbs boneless chicken parts
1 cup filtered water or homemade meat/bone broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

1) Rinse chicken and pat dry, heat oil in stew pot or dutch oven.  Brown chicken in batches and remove to bowl.
2) saute onion in same pot, until tender, about 5-7 min.  Add carrots and parsnips.  Stir, reduce heat to medium and cook 5 i nutes.  Add stock or borth, bay leaf, salt, then ginger, garlic, cinnamon, pepper, chicken, and any juices from bowl.  Gently turn to coat.  Cover, bring to boil, and reduce heat so liquid just simmers.
3) Cook, turning chicken once or twice, until chicken is done, about 35-45 minutes.
4) Remove from heat, add fresh parsley, and serve.

***My notes: I have only made this 2 ways so far, neither of which is in these instructions!  Really, that just sounded like too much work to me, so I tried to simplify.  I am learning how to adjust things to fit our lives around here.  Here are the ways I have cooked it: 
1) Dutch Oven: Roasted a whole chicken with some of the seasonings on it (depending on how much time you have, anywhere from 250-350 in the oven).  Then, about 1.5-2 hrs or so before dinner, I added all the vegetables and broth and remaining seasonings and let it continue cooking (covered!).  We did not have parsnips so we just used carrots and onions, but I wish I had used lots more carrots (didn't have a total of 6 cups like in the recipe).  This was great!
2) Crock Pot: Put all the veggies in the bottom (this time I did 1 large butternut squash, peeled, and cut into big chunks on the bottom, then about 5 or 6 carrots on top of the squash, then 1 huge onion on top of the squash).  Then I poured the broth in, sprinkled about 1/2 the seasonings all over the veggies, placed a couple chicken hindquarters on top and put the rest of the seasonings on the chicken pieces.  We also loved this, and I actually really liked the squash in there, and I am not usually a big fan of boiled/steamed butternut squash.  I loved eating the squash with the onions and chicken.  And the carrots were wonderful again.  
**Really, you can just cook this how it would best work for you and your life!  I bet some raw honey drizzled on your serving would be yummy...
**GAPS notes: this can easily be stage 2 and beyond, and you could make it easier to digest by just cooking the veggies in broth and putting boiled chicken with it, and then progress from there by moist-roasting the meat! 

Variations (from the book): 
replace carrots and parsnips with peeled butternut squash, cut into 2 inch cubes.  Use ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and pepper, OR substitute 1 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tsp dried dill weed, and 1/4 tsp pepper. 

Pork carnitas Recipe
We very much enjoyed this - adults and little boys alike!  We ate with avocado, tomatoes, some yogurt (used like sour cream, drizzled all over mmmm), and an experiment of mine that was a success with the eaters but not enough of a success to post - but I think I found a post-worthy variation I will share later as kind of a substitute for tortillas or wraps.

**GAPS notes: stage 3-4, depending on how you tolerate spices, and if you are doing well, maybe even stage 2!  Just eat with things that are stage-friendly - you could even make this into a soup easily!  

Butternut squash fries
You MUST try this ASAP.  Seriously.  This is one of the best things EVER, ESPECIALLY if you have some beef tallow to use (we just use what comes to the top with our cooled beef broth...and I bet bacon grease would be yummo, too).  SERIOUSLY GO TRY THIS SOON.

**GAPS notes: just don't burn (brown) them too much; avoid eating burnt ends/pieces.  

I could share many more, but I will stop because this is already a long post.  See, eating GAPS is super fun and satisfying!  :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Baked Salmon with Lemon Butter Cilantro Topping

Note: this post has been updated with another ingredient list for more sauce to serve 4-6 people.  

I sort of made this recipe up (based on our favorite salmon patties from Nourishing Days) one evening when I had promised everyone salmon for dinner but didn't want to just do plain baked salmon with seasoning sprinkled on top.  I decided to try making something up and actually remembering the amounts I used for a recipe...and it turned out SO well!  We loved it and actually, I have thought about it every day since eating it...wanting more...

It looks so pretty, too!  I am thinking it would work to put other veggies in it for more nutrition, but I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know for sure.  The sauce is pretty strong, so I think it would help us enjoy veggies that not all of us enjoy naturally.  We did not give this to our boys, as I just didn't feel like trying (okay, I realized that I didn't make as much topping as I thought it would be and I wanted to keep it all for myself...).  I will see if they like it next time, though.  They happily eat just baked salmon with butter and salt on top.

We use giant whole salmon fillets from Vital Choice (the whole fillets are the best cost/ounce, the salmon is of superb quality and purity, and it is certified kosher, so it is safe for anaphylactically shellfish allergic hubby).  I love this because I simply thaw one (and they thaw quickly in some cool water if you forget to pull it out early) and bake it.  SO easy.

Recipe: Salmon with Lemon Butter Cilantro Topping

Ingredients:  (makes enough for 2 individual servings)
  • 2-3 Tbsp butter (grass fed is best!)
  • 1 really small red/purple onion (or about 1/4 cup) finely chopped or diced, depending on your preference
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salmon fillet plus butter to bake with
  • Salt and pepper
Update: Ingredients: (makes enough for 1 giant fillet which is about 4-6 servings)
  • 1 large purple onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 - 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp butter, pastured
  • Salmon fillet (or 4-6 individual portion fillets) plus butter to bake with
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bake salmon fillet, topped with butter (or other fat), salt, and pepper just until it flakes with a fork.  I usually bake it for longer on a low temperature in the oven to avoid overcooking it as well as to cook it gently.  Bake at your desired temperature (anywhere from 200*-350*) until it is done (time varies based on temperature and size/thickness of fillets).  
  • In a skillet, melt butter (or ghee or coconut oil) and saute onion until soft. 
  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and cilantro.  Saute until cilantro is wilted and onions are to your desired consistency.  Let sauce simmer until it is as thick as you would like.  Add more butter if you would like, and salt and pepper to taste.  
  • Spoon over baked salmon.  Enjoy!
(I always try and do at LEAST 1 tbsp of butter per person because the Omega 3's in salmon are better utilized by your body and last longer in your body if you eat them along with the wonderful healthy saturated fat in butter!!!). 

GAPS notes: substitute ghee if you can't tolerate butter, and this recipe can be used as soon as ghee/butter and baked meats are appropriate.  I would say stage 3 or stage 4, depending on how you are doing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

OT: Warrior Prayers - Praying for Boys

Did you know OT stands for off topic?

I am learning all sorts of fascinating stuff these days through the GAPShelp yahoo group.  :-)

Anyway, I wanted to share something that I am doing over the next 3 weeks. 

I am SO excited about this.  I need to be praying SO much more for our boys, and I can't wait to see how God moves over the next few weeks and how He changes us through this.

If you have kids, look into something like this!

The post that was shared by a friend where I learned about it

The website for the book/prayer challenge

Monday, September 5, 2011

Things I WILL Try Soon!

I am so excited to get into doing these things soon.  Hopefully soon means less than a month from now.  Right now I am debating whether I want to buy a nap mat for little mister or try and sew my own before Thursday this week.  I think in this case, with trying to do some ministry stuff and keep up with GAPS cooking, sweet hubby might say it's best to spend the money on one rather than make myself crazy trying to sew something like that when I don't really know very much about sewing...

Well, that was random. 

So back to things I WILL be doing soon. 

Ferments and Fats. 

That sounds so fun, doesn't it?  Who doesn't love fat (in your eating, DUH) and really, I just will feel so adventurous and connected to 100 years ago if I can conquer my fear of fermenting something...

I WILL RENDER (and use!!!) LARD!!!  
photo credit: lysney kramer in the post linked above
This post does a fantastic job talking about fats and why (good, clean, pastured) lard is so good for us.  This also happens to be the family farm our lard comes from.  I just recently bought many pounds of pork fat.  Never thought I'd say that.  But I can't wait to render me some lard for some good cooking and nutrition!  I also might be doing this with our beef fat from our 1/2 cow purchase from the same beloved farm.  MMM beef tallow...on butternut squash fries...


I can't WAIT to try this.  Why?  Well, if you know my kombucha love (okay, that's like 4 people who know, but hey...) you know I could spend our entire income on GT's kombucha at the store and be a happy probiotic filled lady.  Did I just call myself a lady?  Wow, I might need to go to bed.  Anyway, it's expensive.  And I happen to love that stuff.  And I always notice that it helps me in many ways when I drink it.  And I am excited to try it with raw honey instead of using sugar. 

This post makes this seem very easy.  There are instructions everywhere, but for some reason reading it there seemed so simple.  Fermented foods (and especially home-fermented) are powerhouse foods.  They provide amazing beneficial bacteria to our guts to heal our digestive systems and also defend us against the bad stuff.  I also don't enjoy relying on a tiny jar of raw sauerkraut from the Whole Foods in Sugar Land 20+ minutes away for $10 each.  Yep.   I also want to make Kimchi!

Enjoy looking into these things!  :-) 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

It Finally Happened...

Twice in 1 week. 

Someone basically asked me why I was buying so much of something.

1) At the farmer's market last weekend, the sweet girl who works at the farm we get a lot of our produce from finally (she's been seeing us buy crazy amounts consistently for a while now) asked 'what do you do with all the squash?'.  This after getting us one of their CSA boxes to put JUST zucchini, yellow summer squash, and butternut squash in. 

2) Some girl behind me checking out at whole foods said 'you making something with lots of tomatoes?' in reference to the 4 jars each of pureed tomatoes and tomato paste I was buying.  I didn't even think that was very much of that stuff.  It's a simple 'stock up' on something that really won't even last very long...I am guessing she doesn't have kids.  Ah, I am so judgmental. 

Both things made me laugh because I'm pretty sure there are many more people who wonder why my cart is filled with things like 4 heads of cauliflower, 4 bags of onions, and wiping out the limited selection of butternut and spaghetti squashes...and I also love it when I buy many many boxes of butter.  Sometimes I wonder what people think...especially the people buying vegan buttery spreads and veggie burgers.  :-o 

Just call me a weirdo.

Print Friendly